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Sandton City Cycle Nation out to defend women’s title

After having won the last edition of the aQuellé Tour Durban women’s race, the Sandton City Cycle Nation team has entered for the 2021 title decider over the 101km course on the M4 on Sunday 28 November with a burning desire to retain the title that Cashandra Slingerland won in a remarkable solo charge in 2019.

Thirty one months later and the team that will be on the start line will have a different look, but the same core philosophy and a strong leaning towards trying to replicate Slingerland’s remarkable breakaway victory.

“We targeted the hotspot at thirteen kilometres, and Cashandra won that with a big lead, so we decided to let her go alone, and it worked,” recalls team principle Lincoln King.

This year he will have the irrepressible Madelaine le Roux as the rider they will plan to take to the line. She is on a rapid trajectory to stardom, with a string of wins this year to her credit, including the Blue Diamond Classic and the 2021 Sleepy River Classic, and with a propensity to repeat the solo break that earned Slingerland the laurels in 2019.

Also in Sandton City colours will be Olympian and former 947 winner Joanna van de Winkel, who was third across the line at the aQuellé Tour Durban in 2019. A Hillcrest-raised and Epworth-schooled veteran of the road circuit, she will bring experience backed by a passion to return to the podium.

The core of the Sandton City ethos is to field a team that blends youth and experience and to blood the younger talent in the heat of road racing battle.

“We will stay true to our purpose,” says King. “We are there to win for sure, but we also want to give the other members of the team the experience and the ability to learn. And there is no better way to learn than by racing these big races.”

“The aQuellé Tour Durban is a prestigious event and one of the events that we prioritise. It falls neatly between the 947 and the Tour de Cap for us,” he added.

Having tasted success by dominating the race early on, King is keen to manage a similar plan of attack, and says the fast laps on the M4 suits this strategy.

“You can measure your lead at every turn and that makes it very easy to control the race and dictate matters if you set it up early,” says King.

“We come to Durban proud of the fact that we won the title last time and with every intention of defending it,” King added.

Sandton City team for the aQuellé Tour Durban: Joanna van de Winkel, Ansonia van Velden, Madelaine le Roux, Michaela Surtees